When we last left Mikhail, we had gathered a motley crew and prepared to explore the world. Before taking the boats from Pidona, we're going to see what places we've already unlocked simply by talking to people.
And those places are... Stanley. Yeah, that's it.
Well, other than places we've already been, and Toughturn Mountain, but I'm wanting to just go to cities right now.
In Stanley, the only people walking around seem to be soldiers. Talking to them, we here a lot of similar messages. The Farce Army just wants war. They'll fight for any reason. There seem to be mercenaries gathering in Farce. An older man says he's worried about his younger sister who lives in Farce. The weapon shop says all of the products are for the Stanley army only. Even if they fight with Farce, it will only make Ludvich happy. The idea that they're collaborating with bandits is just false accusations by Farce.
There's even a man in the bar who offers to hire us as mercenaries, saying we'll get a bonus if we are able to win the battle. Mikhail declines the offer.
In addition to people talking about war, it seems that there's an increase in monsters near the town lately.
And we found another beard and inspired him to return to work with Cain at Nora's shop!
The mage woman at the table on the north end of the bar teaches Genbu magic arts, and if we try to talk to the kid sitting at the table with her, he just tells us to stay away from him.
Now that we've heard a lot about it, we can travel to Farce, too.
The talk there is pretty similar from a lot of wandering soldier-types.
We must interfere with Ludvich's ambition. Stanley is working with bandits to disrupt trade between Farce and Lance. A woman is worried about her elder brother in Stanley. If we win against Stanley, we can stand up against Ludvich. Even if they fight with Stanley, it will only make Ludvich happy.
There's a house where a man and a woman both just chant what means literally 'bubbles on wet hands.' I tried searching for this online and just found stuff about this game, including this fun play diary of someone who doesn't seem to understand the mass combat minigame thing either.
Though I usually do an image search first, then look at the normal web results, because I like to see if I can fathom a meaning out of images at first, then go look at dictionaries or whatever.
But in this case, it wasn't helpful hahaha. An idiom dictionary says that this phrase means "easy profits." So they're just pacing around their house repeating, "Easy profits, easy profits..."
The play diary I found commented on how this is kind of a creepy house, and I agree.
Our pink-haired kid runs into us again, and says we can't escape this time, because she caught us. Mikhail tells her to go play with her friends, and she says she doesn't have any. Mikhail just says "You poor little girl" (I'm not sure if he's saying this in an insulting way, but I kinda feel like he is).
And uh, that's it. I was kind of surprised -- normally once she catches you three times, she'll force herself into the party. And I was... expecting that to happen. But it seems like Mikhail has some kind of little girl repellent (except with Sara) because it's impossible to recruit her here.
Anyway, we also find another craftsman here, and the mage girl is teaching Suzaku magic arts.
Not wanting to get involved in Ludvich's little war game, I decide to go ahead and go back to Pidona and take the boat to Librof, the first and cheapest destination on the list.
In Librof, there's a single merchant family, Lazaief. The people of Librof seem pretty confident in them, saying they won't lose to the merchants from Yalmas or Wilmington. But it also seems to be that the daughter of the family, Tatyana, has run away.
A guy in the bar tells us that the Church of the Divine King built their tower in the place where the Naj Kingdom used to be. And it's apparently really freaking tall (the guy says "1,000,000 times taller than me" lol)
In the seating area upstairs, a woman says she thinks the Church of the Divine King is stockpiling treasures.
The man next to her tells us that beyond Akbar Ridge is the Naj Desert. Despite the location, the Church built their tower out there, not even fearing death. The point of the tower seems to be to reach the Divine King.
A woman across from those two tells us that the Gessia Dynasty of the Naj Empire refused the Church's teachings, so Tiberius (<3) the leader of the Church's followers, took up arms against them. In the Battle of Hamal Lake ten years ago, the Gessia Dynasty suffered a critical defeat and were overtaken by the Church.
Another woman says that the Church is spreading the message that this era's Destiny Child will surpass the Devil Emperor and Holy Emperor and become the Divine King. But she questions if a 'Divine King' really can exist.
(I should note at this point that the words used in the game to call all three of these things more literally means king. I use 'emperor' because it sounds better, and I feel it's less gender-specific (even though it's really not, I guess), and I didn't know the gender of these people. Since the Divine King is a fictional idea created by the Church, I figured it'd probably be male anyway, and calling it with a different word helps keep it separate from the two historical figures.)
Also fun fact, one of the words for emperor is teiou, which is the exact same way you pronounce Thaao (my name XD) Though the inflection is a little different.
Linguistics aside, we found another craftsman to work with Cain. And we learned a lot about the Church...
We take another boat to Wilmington, the next available place on the list. Here we find yet another lost craftsman. We're collecting quite a few!
The only gossip we really hear here is that the Fullbright Firm is a prestigious company from the Holy Emperor times, but these days they seem not so great.
Since we're spending all this money on boat tickets, I did take the chance to sell some of the extra stuff we have in the inventory. Who need 9 Longspears anyway? So now we have over 6,000 aurums.
Our next travel destination is Yalmas. I thought about putting this off til later, because stuff happens here. I was planning on going here after recruiting pink-hair, but I guess she can't join Mikhail's party.
But I figured I may as well try it now, anyway.
There are some storehouses on the pier in Yalmas, which is kinda unique, so let's check those out first. And we get to make a drug bust! Well, kind of. This scraggly beard dude is trying to convince the other guy to smuggle drugs onto the ship, but the guy doesn't want to because it's illegal.
Scraggs says that it's fine because he'll make a lot of money and no one will see them. We're given the options to 'see them' or act as if we see nothing.
No matter what you pick, before anything else can happen, there's sudden laughter coming from somewhere, and someone shouts, "Heaven knows! Earth knows! ROBIN KNOWS!" and this weird hero music starts playing.
This is a play on a sort of famous... idiomatic... quote thing which literally means like "Heaven knows, earth knows, I know, you know." Basically the meaning of this is that there are no secrets in the world, because someone always knows. It's like an 'all walls have ears' kind of thing. Though I'll admit I didn't really understand 'all walls have ears' until trying to figure this out, either.
It comes from the Chinese Book of the Later Han, said when Yang Zhen refuses a bribe from the king.
I've always known this heaven/earth/robin-knows thing and figured it was a reference to something but never bothered to look it up. It wasn't too hard to find, but then I also wanted to know who Yang Zhen was, so I had to search around for that to find out how to say it, since it's a Chinese name and I can't read it just from looking at it lol. I couldn't really learn too much more about Yang Zhen easily so JUST KNOW THAT IT'S A SPOOF OF A QUOTE FROM CHINESE HISTORY.
Anyway, someone laughs and says this cheesy line, and then drops down from the ceiling. It's a guy who looks like he's in some kind of Zorro cosplay, and he starts calling out Sailor-Moon-like lines about how he won't forgive the guy for trying to push drugs and stuff.
The guy curses, as it seems this Robin has foiled him again, and runs off. The other man thanks Robin for his help and says he has no idea who that guy was or where he came from. Robin asks him who runs the ship he's working for, and the guy stutters, telling him it's the Dophorle Firm. Robin seems to have been expecting that answer, and the guy runs off, too.
Robin... flies away, and Mikhail wonders exactly what it was he just witnessed.
Walking around Yalmas, it seems people can only talk about Robin or the Dophorle Company. The firm seems to be even more powerful than the Fullbright and Lazaief Firms, and some people believe that Yalmas couldn't survive without it. One person wonders if Robin is working for a rival company, since all he ever does is interfere with Dophorle's business.
The bar in Yalmas is run by the CUTEST PUDGY MUSTACHE NPC EVER. Look at him and his colorful little shirt! The bar here even has a name, "Seahawk." He asks us if we know the ~Wonderous Robin~, who has been challenging the Dolphore Firm. Our round friend seems to think that Robin's presence is pretty refreshing.
(A side note: the "Wonderous Robin" thing seems to be the full nickname of robin, and the Japanese is parallel to the Japanese full name of the hero Zorro. So Robin is clearly meant to be a Zorro parody.)
Around the bar, we also find this extremely timid busboy who just mumbles "Welcome," that one kid who tells us to get away when we talk to him (he seems to really get around -- he shows up a lot of places), and a woman who says that the Dophorle Firm is not unwilling to stoop to doing bad things if it means profits.
Venturing into a house, we find a couple more Scraggs harassing a woman. They tell her that Dophorle will pay her 1000 aurums for this dump. The woman says she doesn't need the money -- her grandmother is bedridden, so they have no intention of leaving this house.
The Scragg Twins say they'll move granny for her, and yank her out of the bed and start tossing her around violently. The woman begs them to stop, but one tells the other not to hold back.
Our options are "Stop!" or "Not my problem." lol.
But before we can do anything, Robin flies down from the ceiling? and knocks them away, putting grandma back into bed. He says he won't forgive them for their harassment, and the guys run off, afraid of Robin. He makes sure the old woman is okay, and her granddaughter thanks Robin and says she wishes she could repay him somehow. He says that her happiness is reward enough and flies off.
I guess I should also note at this point that Robin says "Farewell!" in the way Tuxedo Mask does when he runs off. I wonder if Tuxedo Mask is also based off Zorro...? Probably, actually.
Looking more around town, I find the weapon shop and buy an axe for Nora. She's great with axes but doesn't come with one.
I equip Nora and put the party into a four-person Desert Lance formation (some formations have variations for smaller-numbered parties). You know, just in case.
Exiting the weapon shop, that timid busboy from the bar is outside making a public speech in the square. He begs everyone to listen, stating that Yalmas is a free town -- it doesn't belong to the Dophorle Firm. Plus, they smuggle illegal drugs that were banned by the Holy Emperor and employ the help of monsters!
A trio of Scraggs shove him to the ground and against a building to shut him up. A witness shouts out for help, saying they're going to kill Lime (yeah, his name is Lime.)
Mikhail hesitates, expecting Robin to show up. But when he notices he's not coming, he decides it's our turn to help out.
Laughter is heard from above, and Robin swoops down from somewhere onto the scene as the ladies swoon (and Mikhail, too, probably. And me.)
This Robin looks a little different from before, though. The Robin we've seen so far was tall and skinny, but this one is short and fat. And has a mustache. (though you can't see it in the sprite sadly!) And he's kinda old. An old, chubby guy with a mustache. Do you have a guess at who is going to be the first member to enter our Harem Party?
Even though he looks different than the Robin we've seen already, he fights off the Scraggs, all three at once.
Then he jumps up onto a barrel, calling out "Farewell!" as he prepares to fly away.
... But the barrel brakes from under him and he falls inside, getting stuck.
Dophorle captures him, and they hold a "trial" for him where basically they ask the Scraggs for their verdict, to which they of course respond "Guilty!" And then they sentence him to being burned alive.
Laughter is heard from the rooftops! "As long as Robin lives on, evil will not prevail in this world!"
Robin hops down from the rooftops and fights off the Scraggs and breaks Other Robin free from his barrel shackles. He thanks "Fake Robin" for his hard work. The executioner guy gets angry, and says it's time to pull out the big guns... and he brings in... monsters! So it seems like Lime was right, they really do collab with monsters...
I was kind of afraid to come here without Tatyana, but I forgot if you don't have a full party, Robin will join you in the fight! Because the number of party members was changed, though, the formation is changed back to the default Free Fight formation, sadly.
I was also afraid to come here because my first time playing this game, I had no idea this was going to happen, and they actually brought out completely different demons -- it was like two or three of those demons that we fought with Mikhail at the throne... And I died. And I had a lot of trouble beating them, but I had saved inside the weapon shop, which leads directly into this scene upon exiting, as long as you've seen all the other Robin scenes...
Anyway, I thought Mikhail's 'casting' pose looked pretty cool. He looks like he's going to do a Kamehameha or something.
These demons were thankfully much easier to fight. Mikhail got to use Nap for the first time, which put both demons to sleep! And while they were sleeping, Sara and Thomas used Shadow Sew to paralyze the one I wasn't targeting with attacks (since attacks will wake up the sleeping opponents when they connect).
Nora and Robin brought the pain with Nora using her Rotating Hit club art, and Robin using Lightning Pierce, defeating the demon on the first turn. I'm a strategist!
Lightning Pierce is a normal foil art that anyone can learn, but it's kind of Robin's signature move.
There's a second fight after this one where you have to fight a fish. It was... ridiculously easy? My first time coming here I struggled so much... The enemies you fight are probably based on your monster rank or something, and since I haven't done much yet, I have a very low monster rank.
In the second fight, you have Fake Robin join you, instead. His signature move is Screwdriver, one of the more powerful foil arts in the game. It also does bonus damage to women.
Yeah, the screw attack is effective against women. Normally this would be a facepalm moment, but since it's the signature attack of the chubby mustache dad, I'm going to let it go. His Screwdriver would be especially effective on me, too.
After the fights, we're just... in the square. No victory scene or anything. Just back in town as if nothing happened. That's the end of it. After all of the cinematics that went into that whole ordeal, I think it's kind of weird for it to have such a sudden ending like that...
Anyway, if we go back to the storehouse at the docks where we first saw Robin...
He'll jump down and ask if he can be of any use to us! Of course, we tell him no. And then exit the storehouse and enter again. And do this again. And again. Like, at least ten times.
And finally OUR HERO shows up, and we recruit him! Each Robin is a separate character with different stats and strengths. Even though the name of the character will be "Robin" in your party for either one, it's not just an aesthetic change!
Our Robin has great Speed, and decent Endurance, Skill, and even Charm! Not only does he have screw attack as his signature move, but he's statistically one of the most attractive characters in the game. I'm not disagreeing!!
Seriously though, if you know me at all, you're probably not surprised at all right now :P I am sad that you can't see his mustache in the game sprite, though. It is there in all the official art, and his Imperial SaGa sprite has the mustache, too. There's actually a fan rom hack to this game that adds a TON of content, including entire new areas, characters, battle mechanics, and quests, with a bunch of crossovers from other SaGa games, and remastered graphics. I've not played it enough to meet Fake Robin in it, but I'm hoping he has his mustache there, too.
Anyway, if we head back to the bar, if you haven't guessed it already...
That cutie bartender is gone now. Because he's in our party :) If you're curious, his name is Trucks, and I'll probably often call him Trucks from now on (just to distinguish him from the other Robin and so I don't have to keep calling him "Fake Robin") ...
And as you've also probably guessed (but if you didn't, don't worry, I didn't realize myself lol), the timid busboy Lime is the true Robin. That's why Robin didn't come when Lime was getting beaten up.
Also, Trucks and Lime are father and son. I don't think this is ever explained in the game, but in Imperial SaGa it's made explicit.
The Robin scenario is one of the most iconic episodes in all of SaGa series, even though it's a comedy scene. To promote Imperial SaGa, Square-Enix actually made an animated short music video, giving lyrics to the Robin theme music with quotes from the game. So that means Trucks and Lime actually have canon voices. And yes, Trucks's is sexy (even though it's supposed to be funny, I think, but I don't care, I like what I like XDDD).
I've never met a SaGa fan who doesn't love the Robins; they're two of the most popular characters in the entire franchise.
And that's where we'll stop for now. I hope you've enjoyed the play diary so far and welcome our heroic and handsome new party member to the group :)